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Drone Operators

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 11.01.13

I remember reading that it's wildly destructive to soldiers' psyche to have killed, but for a long time the military suppressed all research into it. Apparently it's also traumatic to operate a drone, and some soldiers get PTSD from it.

Chillingly, to mitigate these effects, researchers have proposed creating a Siri-like user interface, a virtual copilot that anthropomorphizes the drone and lets crews shunt off the blame for whatever happens. Siri, have those people killed.

Yaaargh.

Via FB


 

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Can We Get Some Better Appellate Judges Nominated And Confirmed?

Posted by LizardBreath
on 11.01.13

The Second Circuit just stayed Judge Scheindlin's decision requiring the NYPD to stop its racially biased stop-and-frisk program pending their decision of the appeal. Really surprisingly, though they took her off the case, saying that media reports about the case, and the fact that she on one occasion noted in court that an individual plaintiff with a constitutional stop-and-frisk claim could bring it before her as a related case, showed that she was biased. That's really unusual, and seems completely unjustified -- I haven't read all the articles they cite, but I didn't recall any commentary on her making any unusual public statements during the case at the time. This seriously looks as if the panel doesn't like her decision, but knows if they overturn it and remand it to her for a new decision in accordance with their holding, she'll have a chance to harmonize her legal holding with the Second Circuit's ruling while still arriving at the same result.

And then the Fifth Circuit lifted the injunction staying operation of the latest abortion restriction law in Texas, pending appeal of the district's court finding that the law was unconstitutional placed an undue burden (the Casey standard) on women seeking abortions. So the law's in effect now.

Meanwhile, some Republicans are claiming that Obama is trying to pack the courts by nominating judges to vacant positions. Some days it just doesn't seem worth gnawing through the leather straps to get out of bed.


 

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Halloween

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 10.31.13

What a jerk.

I actually got to vote dressed as Wendy Davis, today, so that was nice. Also I did have to sign something saying that my name is me, even though it has a hyphen sometimes and I don't.


 

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50 Greatest Inventions

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 10.31.13

VW sends along: 50 Greatest Invetions Since The Wheel.

Heebie's take: I think # 23, the sextant, is probably the weakest one. Maybe it could be replaced by English-Spanish dictionaries or something.


 

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Halloween mix!

Posted by Ben
on 10.30.13

Oh boy! Sure to be a hit! Cole Porter has never sounded so spoooooooky!

1. George Crumb - Songs, Drones and Refrains of Death, Quest - Songs, Drones & Refrains of Death (1962-68) 6. Death Drone II
2. Einsturzende Neubauten - Drawings Of Patient O.T. - Neun Arme
3. John Fahey - Best of the Vanguard Years - Singing Bridge Of Memphis, Tennessee
4. Tetuzi Akiyama, Kevin Corcoran, Christian Kiefer - Low Cloud Means Death - Curious Forms With Darkness
5. Derek Bailey & Keiji Haino - Songs - Boka Ga Nejirekireru To Ai
6. Wolfmangler - Cooking with Wolves - All of You
7. Locrian & Mamiffer - Bless Them that Curse You - Bless Them That Curse You
8. Jandek - White Box Requiem - Didn't Really Die
9. Boduf Songs - Boduf Songs - Our Canon Of Transposition
10. Deathprod - Imaginary Songs from Tristan a Cunha - Stony Beach
11. Bleaks - Haste, Error - Pulse 92
12. Mnemonists - Horde - The Horde
13. Jon Rose & K. K. Null - Transgenic Nomad - Deepfield
14. Rope - Fever - Damn High Mountain
15. King Crimson - VROOOM - When I Say Stop, Continue
16. Zs - Music of the Modern White - MMW 2 pt 3
17. Khanate - Things Viral - Too Close Enough To Touch


 

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Guest Post - Pollution in China

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 10.30.13

LW sends in: Pollution in China, from a source I recently found via Marikay Magistad's twitter. Harbin's air pollution is 10-20 times worse than that of LA. Schools and the airport are closed. No quick way to shut down coal-fired power plants. Driving restrictions that helped in Mexico lead to extra car purchases.

Heebie's take: It's a depressing read.

In the early part of this century there was a fierce debate between those who argued that China could develop first and clean up its environment later, and those who predicted that China would not reach real prosperity if it did not adopt a more sustainable model. Now the first group is finding out that cleaning up is really hard to do, while the second group has the grim satisfaction of seeing the scenario it predicted unfold.

I don't know why this paragraphed amused me so much, but overall the story is grim.


 

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Social Justice Math

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 10.29.13

I just found out that Social Justice Math is a thing. With a conference.

This is actually very confronting to me, because I don't know that I have the stomach to teach such a class. It sounds very, very stressful to confront conservative students all semester long. I am not joking when I say that I hide out by teaching math.


 

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Guest Post - Interviews

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 10.29.13

Ydnew writes in: Here's some blog fodder. In short, the essays suggests why job interviews are useless for predicting future performance compared to blind hiring based on resumé. Apparently, it's fairly well-established that interviews don't help predict which applicant will perform best, but a recent study gives two possibilities about why the extra information doesn't help.

[T]he question is whether people ignore irrelevant information and pick out the useful. The hypothesis that they don't is called dilution.The useful information is diluted by noise. Dana and colleagues also examined a second possible mechanism. Given people's general propensity for sense-making, they thought that interviewers might have a tendency to try to weave all information into a coherent story, rather than to discard what was quirky or incoherent. Three experiments supported both hypothesized mechanisms.

The study participants all felt like the extra information from the interview helped them in their predictions. I suspect that interviewing largely results in making decisions based on "fit," reinforcing existing homogeneity in a given workplace.

Sidenote: I'm writing this while sitting through an interview talk rendered in Comic Sans. No way this guy should be hired, right? Bad fit?

Heebie's take: it strikes me that interviews for graduate school are vastly different from interviews for a job. For graduate school, you want to pick people who are likely to make it through the program, and someone's personality and whether they alienate other people is low on that list. For a job interview, you do actually want to glean whether you can work closely with the other person. (Of course, this means you'll select to cement your existing prejudices and biases, so it's problematic in other ways.) Basically, the most brilliant asshole should certainly be able to go to grad school, but I don't want to work with them afterwards.

(Probably I can't determine who is a jerk in the interview for a job, either, but I'd be loathe to abandon that part of the process.)


 

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Bay Area Different Meet Up

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 10.28.13

I need to make a quick decision on the Bay Area meeting which is distinct from wine-tasting. I'll be in town over Thanksgiving, and can either meet up Tuesday (the 26th) afternoon/evening, or Saturday (the 30th) brunch/lunch/early afternoon. (Other people need me to figure this out so that they can make contingent plans.)

Tell me about your schedule, folks.


 

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Pew Science Quiz

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 10.28.13

Witt sends along: It's only 13 questions long. Pretty elementary, but fun.

I am most curious about a) what questions the average respondent got wrong (I missed the Earth's atmosphere) and b) what Pew is doing with all the demographic data they are collecting from online test-takers.

Heebie's take: I got one wrong. I'm kicking myself.


 

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Fish Section

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 10.28.13

I started paying attention at the grocery store when we started conscientiously planning and eating dinners at home, about three years ago. Before that, I went grocery shopping, but it was haphazard and I wasn't really paying attention.

At our grocery store, there is a miniscule fish section, but on the other hand we're five hours from the nearest coast. And the prices haven't changed particularly over three years, that I've noticed.

For those of you who have been paying attention longer: is the collapse of the fishing industry noticeable at the grocery store? I thought someone mentioned this in a thread, a couple weeks ago, but I wanted to flesh it out more thoroughly.

Also: I saw your mom fishing with a hook and reel in the frozen fish section.


 

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